The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

Hudson Woods throws his arms out after a play before getting into position
Hudson Woods climbs to new heights after standout sophomore season
Jonathan Jones, Sports Writer • May 18, 2024
Joshua Velasquez committed to serving his country in the U.S. Army.
Beyond basic
Margaret Edmonson, Adviser • May 17, 2024
Sydney Rakowitz will study education and training and music at the University of Incarnate Word.
Seniors sign to continue athletic, non-athletic careers
Valley Ventana, Staff • May 16, 2024
Boy Scouts of America announced on May 7 the organizations name will change to Scouting America on the organizations 115th birthday Feb. 8, 2025. Photo by JV via
Boy Scouts changing name after 115 years
Grayson Cook, Staff writer • May 15, 2024
The top 15 students in the senior class receive special recognition at graduation on May 22 due to their hard work throughout high school. 
Graphic by Alex Whelchel via Canva
Profile: Top 15 seniors
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • May 13, 2024

Opinion: AP Psychology’s full curriculum should be offered in Florida

Bethany Mann
AP Psychology was first offered in 1992 and has since become one of College Board’s most popular AP classes.

The Advanced Placement Psychology course is not trying to turn students gay, but the Florida government seems to think so.

College Board, a non-profit organization that administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test and AP curriculum and tests, released a statement Thursday saying Florida had “effectively banned” the course after the state informed school districts that the course’s curriculum, which discusses sexual orientation and gender, directly goes against state law.

While state officials were quick to respond saying the course is allowed to be taught in its entirety in public schools as long as it is approached with caution, the conservative ideology in the state has continued once more to attempt to limit Florida students’ education just months after its full ban on the newly introduced AP African American Studies course.

AP Psychology is not “woke” and should continue to be offered in full.

I took this course this past school year, and I find this belief the course contains “woke” ideology to be absurd. The class discusses gender and sexual orientation in unit six as a small part to a much bigger unit titled Developmental Psychology. This part of the course, which takes up less than a page in my notes, addresses statistical gender differences, how gender roles have developed over the years and the changing views on why people have different sexual orientations. 

The sexual orientation part of the curriculum discusses the scientific studies that show that the size of the INAH-3 is smaller in homosexual males and heterosexual females than heterosexual males, showing a neurological reason to be attracted to the male gender. 

I remember the day we lectured on this, and we spent fewer than 15 minutes talking about it, so these Florida officials who feel threatened by anything that goes against their beliefs are scared a 12-minute discussion about gender and sexual orientation is going to steer the young generation in the “wrong direction.” Even though they constantly hear about the LGBTQIA+ community in the media because conservative politicians think every person who contains basic human decency must be gay and a liberal, this class, which is more than 30 years old, is what is going to affect their students the most.

While some conservative politicians leading this charge believe it is not the course itself, but the course being coupled with liberal teachers who are trying to “turn kids gay” as the reason it should be banned, the majority of teachers could care less about politics in the classroom. Teachers have more important things to worry about than spewing “liberal propaganda” onto their students. Florida officials care so much about shielding others from the “leftist agenda” they don’t even notice they are doing exactly what they claim the Democratic Party is doing and shoving their very biased beliefs down every American’s throat. 

The argument that the Florida Department of Education is trying to implement this curriculum change in an effort to care for and protect their students is misguided. When the subject of sexual orientation is so often used by politicians to manipulate the public, it is necessary for students to know and understand the science behind the LGBTQIA+ community. The more they know, the less likely they are going to be susceptible to the fear these politicians create. If students were truly cared for, the Department of Education would place creating a multitude of educational opportunities over preventing discussion about sexual orientation.

The attempt to ban AP Psychology not only ostracizes queer youth, but it also clearly mixes church and state. The classroom appropriateness of the curriculum is not measured by anything other than traditional Christian values. If they are allowed to ban AP Psychology because it discusses sexual orientation, what’s to stop them from banning AP Biology because it teaches evolution.

Because it sets a slippery slope precedent for the future and limits academic freedom, Florida should not implement restrictions on the AP Psychology course.

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